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What happened when I stopped eating “Clean” – By Mel Collie

So many diets, so many statistics showing us that obesity is an epidemic, an overburdening NHS with no money and out of date health advice leaves us confused, unsure about what to eat, when, calorie counting, colour counting, weighing, guilt..this confusion leads to overwhelm and overeating, thats why I stopped eating “clean”…sounds like a crazy thing to do when theres an obesity epidemic, but I think that the trend of eating clean/paleo also has its issues that no ones talking about. It can be totally the wrong thing if you are anorexic or have eating disorders as its another way of controlling food.

What is eating clean?

Eating clean means no sugar and a whole lot of fresh food thats not processed.

Obesity hit the headlines again today about the fact that fat doesn’t make you fat..

Its something that us health and wellness instructors have known a while

Its important to eat fat, avocados are actually good for you, as are nuts and seeds and butter. Whole milk is better than semi or skimmed milk.

If its low fat its not healthy for you, its full of chemicals that your Liver doesn’t know how to break down and use.

Veg and healthy body movement makes a big step towards a healthy future for your body, which means less burden on the NHS and on your heart.

Flora is rubbish..its not good for you..butter is, its a healthy fat as is coconut oil.

However…as good as you are at eating well you will have days when you don’t…and want to eat sugar.

And thats ok!

Its ok to eat in moderation, have chips, cookies, cake, chocolate.

I’m sure that you will go out for dinner and have a pudding, and thats ok, as long as at the time you actually enjoy it, without the stress of feeling guilty, thinking it will all make you fat and sick and you’ve fallen off the wagon.

We are doing less activity in our lives, but we are rewarding ourselves more, thats why sitting in front of the TV is a great pastime with a bowl of crisps , we love the reward..but don’t like the task.

And the task is? Working your body, like its supposed to. Stressing the body by moving it.

We are creatures of movement, hunters, gatherers, our brains haven’t changed or evolved to accept or understand modern stress.

We now sit in front of a screen and don’t move for hours. We wonder why we get fat, sick, with painful joints.

We don’t challenge ourselves anymore, we love the comfort zone, nothing we do scares us anymore, unless you make yourself join something that challenges you, do an activity that means you have to soul search for answers.

At the risk of boring you about my time in Snowdonia, thats exactly what I faced.

High mountain climbs, testing myself, abseils, questions, challenges.

Realisation and acceptance is key to living in the here and now.

We lie to ourselves all the time, even when we tell ourselves  we aren’t.

I do believe that eating clean is the only way to have a healthy heart, liver, mind, movement. However, when I started eating things like biscuits and cake again, I started to love food again, love the energy around food, love the places I ate them in. I believe that eating clean can be addictive and controlling, we can beat ourselves up when we don’t, which leads to a hormonal cascade which is just as bad as eating something viewed as a “chemical shit storm” ..

Anyway, I just chose to eat less..

I don’t eat three meals a day, I don’t eat breakfast because I don’t feel hungry before mid day. Doesn’t mean I eat loads later. Sometimes I don’t eat lunch either. I have more energy on the days I don’t eat before dinner.

I’ve tried a few diets overtime, Ive listened to how my body reacts, how my energy changes, what happens to me. Not how it works for someone else.

Metabolism is unique and it changes all the time.

Its your job to be true to yourself and eat to suit you.

For me, my diet looks like this

Lemon water in the morning, 5g Vit C and some Ashwaghanda

Lunch, if I feel hungry, (do you know how that really feels?) is a couple of eggs, watercress and ham, sometimes, if we have some, in the house, I also have a couple of slices of Ciabatta or a flat bread , toasted, with the eggs, lush! Sometimes some Kabanossi sausage as well.

Its taken time for me to stop the “breads bad for you, its gluten” thought..however, it is for some people, it isn’t for others. If you find it leaves you bloated and tired, then you have an intolerance, and your gut has trouble digesting it, the same can be said of milk, but its not true for everyone.

Find what works for you.

For dinner then, maybe I will have a curry, with nana bread (shock horror!), or a tuna salad, or fish and salad – my gut isn’t a  huge fan of potatoes, they leave me feeling tired, or a picky tea which is a mixture of cold meats, cheese, beetroot, crackers, pickles..stuff like that, a shepherds pie, pizza, pasta and bolognese sauce…just good old fashioned food. I also love a slice of cheesecake, I also love chocolate peanuts and chocolate buttons, apricots, blueberries..but..in moderation.

Knowing that you can have a food, thats its not a sin, its not bad for you, means you are more likely to not binge eat it, because its is plentiful supply, you aren’t denied it, its not going to run out, it will always be there. Its not like Charlie and the Chocolate factory when the chocolate river and the sweets were all such a treat, it seemed they had to to eat it all and extra fast or it would all be taken away from them, so its a knowing that the food you have is plentiful and will always be there. You aren’t going to starve.

I just eat when I feel hungry. I do believe though that many of us truly knows how that feels, to be hungry, the feeling of being lonely, upset, stressed, unworthy, fed up, wanting a cuddle…can all be mistaken for the feelings of being hungry. We can snack in the car on the way home from a bad day at work and eat a bag of sweets before we’ve even left the car park. Empty calories we forget about because we’ve eaten them in a daze and without being conscious of it.

So, I suppose I stop eating at about 8pm, and don’t start until 1pm the next day if I feel like lunch, or 6pm for dinner.Its not an exact science, and its not regimented..sometimes those times change.

Thats a gap of 17 – 22 hours between meals.

The scaremongering stories are that your metabolism will slow down – thats not true, or that you will faint, thats not true, or that your body goes into starvation mode, that also isn’t true. Your body 2- 3 hours after eating,  is in a “fed” state, its still digesting the food you have just eaten, but you could still feel the urge to eat.

This is usually because we’ve been conditioned to feel hungry by the adverts we see, the words we hear, the smells from the supermarket pumping bread and coffee smells..

I’m just eating less.

Its how human used to eat. Sometimes a big kill and lots of meat, sometimes just nuts and berries and fish, sometimes nothing.

However…We are moving less, we don’t need to eat 3 meals a day. We don’t need to snack. We don’t need to graze. We are bombarded more with images of food through marketing of course, reminding us to eat , eat, eat…eating on the train, in the car, as we walk, we just eat mindlessly.

On the days you are doing a whole lot more like hunting tigers and climbing mountains, you may well need more sugar based energy releasing foods.

On days you aren’t, then your body just doesn’t require food as much as you think it does.

Don’t diet, still eat the foods you love, but less, its simple really, but as I said in the beginning, its a journey, you will travel, you will stop and get off, you will get back on again, you will discover, you will feel fear, anticipation, wonder and happiness.

Thats the joy of life.

Realisation and acceptance.

Mel Collie

http://melcollie.com

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